Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Presents v Presence

Sin and grace, absence and presence, tragedy and comedy, they divide the world between them and where they meet head on, the Gospel happens.
--Frederick Buechner

No, there is no escape. There is no heaven with a little of hell in it - no place to retain this or that of the devil in our hearts or our pockets. Our Satan must go, every hair and feather.
--George MacDonald

Have you ever been struck down by grief? You can barely breathe, your brain can’t hold on to a single thought for longer than a microsecond, and you feel as if your heart is suffocating. Time stops and you are trapped in a horrific nightmare.

“Where are you, God?”

“How could you, God?”

Heal me, deliver me, have mercy on me, I need a miracle, don’t let this happen, please make that happen, make this stop. We want answers and resolutions, for God to explain Himself in ways that will help us understand what is happening and, hopefully, to make right what we believe is wrong, However, God isn’t always all that forthcoming, is He. Well, actually He is, just not in a manner that suits our immediate felt needs.

We want answers. God offers us Himself and asks, in turn, that we offer ourselves to Him. Think of Job. Did God ever answer his questions: explain to him why hell had been unleashed on his life? No. What was it that then that brought peace to his bereaved soul? Seeing God.

We want deliverance, now. God wants to walk with us as we grow in maturity and wisdom.

We want our problems solved. He wants our problems to drive us deeper down into the areas of our souls that have never been touched by His love and truth. While we are asking God to place a band-aid on a cancer, He is insisting upon excising the disease. “Our Satan must go.”

We want all the circumstances that are wrong in our lives to be made right. He wants us to be remade in His image.  

God is there. Our disasters, tragedies, difficulties, and personal failures are His trysting places. Such experiences open spaces in our souls that have yet to see the light of God’s day. We can embrace the dark trial, continually offering ourselves to God, trusting that His love will do His work in us, or we can be distracted by the peripheral pursuit of explanations and remedies that will never be sufficient for healing what ails our souls. While answers may resolve cognitive dissonance only God’s presence heals and transforms.  

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2014

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